Former Alumni Spotlights
Each month, YPT profiles a new alum of a YPT program in our electronic newsletter, The Wire.
Amazing Alumnus, July 2017
“[YPT] has been an inspiration to me and a place where I can just go and write..."
YPT alumnus Jorge Martinez returned from two-week summer playwriting intensive hosted by Curious Theatre in Denver, Colorado. Brimming with excitement, he visited Young Playwrights’ Theater to share about his experiences. And we couldn’t wait to listen!
A graduate of Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), Jorge has been a part of YPT for the past four years and participated in both Young Playwrights’ Workshop, Student Advisory Council and Silence Is Violence: What Now? in the spring of 2017. As a long-time participant of YPT, his favorite moment has always been his very first live performance Chains of Suppression. “It was the first performance as an artist that got me started down this path,” says Jorge.
Since then, he has faithfully written plays, scenes, poems and more at YPT. He says he finds his inspiration from life, TV, films and even video games which have a particular way of depicting characters by letting their character traits manifest in their physical traits. Once he has an idea, he doesn’t let it go. “Sometimes I just think of something, and so I’ll write it down, and maybe I’ll leave it there for like two or three weeks. Then I’ll try reading it again and seeing if it sparks something in my mind.”
What Jorge likes most about writing is that the world he creates is entirely up to him as a writer: “You have full control of what it’s going to be and the rules,” explains Jorge. “Nobody else can tell you it doesn’t make any sense because it’s your universe and they can’t say anything.” On the other hand, Jorge mentions that the challenge is managing his own self criticism, but that hasn’t stopped him from exploring new ideas and writing them down.
That was one of the biggest lessons he learned at YPT and from his experience in Denver. While in Denver, a masterclass featuring guest instructor Jose Cruz Gonzales helped him generate ideas, share among a group of other talented young writers and produce an original short play. Jorge’s play explored the dangers and impact of alcoholism through magical realism and an unforgettable character who lures people in to feed on their negativity, often by introducing them to alcohol.
The piece was the first linear play he wrote outside of YPT, and he is further encouraged to write more plays. At YPT, he has also had the chance to direct. During the Young Playwrights’ Workshop’s spring performance, he was Assistant Director to lead instructor Farah Lawal Harris. “As Assistant Director to Farah, I tried to balance being a performer too, but I tried to help other workshop students if they were lost with something, or if someone wasn’t doing something right.”
Jorge has moved out of his comfort zone and taken on new challenges many times this year. Earlier this year, he had the opportunity to perform along with a cast of professional actors in YPT’s Silence Is Violence: What Now? “The performance was great. I liked that I was able to give a voice to students who had a lot to say about the current state that our country was in, about their experiences and tell their stories.”
In the future, Jorge hopes to publish more plays and explore stage acting and voice acting professionally and says he wouldn’t have even dreamed of moving in this direction were it not for his experience with YPT. “[YPT] has been an inspiration to me and a place where I can just go and write,” says Jorge. “As a writer, it has given me a little more confidence.”
We are so very proud of Jorge and all that he has accomplished so far. We can’t wait to see what he does next. His advice to young writers: “Don’t give up on what you want to do. Pursue your goals. Regardless of the obstacles, you have to keep moving forward and fighting for what you want.”